Good Content Transcends Boundaries: Tencent Looks to Forge Future of Content Industry with International Partners

As a leading provider of digital entertainment in China, Tencent Video is sharing insights into the domestic market’s growth journey and current viewership trends at the 39th annual MIPCOM, the preeminent global trade conference for the television and entertainment industry which is held annually in Cannes, France.

This year, MIPCOM has named China the 2023 Country of Honor. As a keynote speaker in the event’s Media Mastermind series, Tencent Vice President and CEO of Tencent Video, Zhonghuai Sun, told the gathering of top content creators, distributors and broadcasters that “good content transcends borders” while highlighting opportunities for international partnerships in content and streaming.

Tencent Vice President and CEO of Tencent Video, Zhonghuai Sun.

Thanks to Internet and AI technology, online video users in China have surged over the last decade to over a billion in 2023. The market has become more sophisticated and competitive with discerning Chinese audiences demanding content of ever higher quality that both entertains and informs. As a result, major platforms have shifted strategies in recent years. They are buying less third-party content and creating original content in-house. Tencent Video has been a trailblazer in this process. Today, it self-produces a diverse range of content from popular drama series to variety shows, feature films, animation, sports, and documentaries to satisfy a diverse user base.

As Sun put it, “Tencent aims to be a leader in video entertainment, driven by art and technology. We value the essential role of artists and creators and have developed a long-term strategy to develop and protect intellectual property (IP). At the same time, as a part of the bigger Tencent group, we are focused on cutting-edge technological innovations, especially in audiovisual advancement.”

From the perspective of art, Tencent Video is adept at the innovative application of IP assets, whether self-owned or acquired from external creators, to develop new storylines and additional content in varying formats. One example is the leveraging of Tencent’s legendary Honor of Kings mobile game to produce a successful TV series and a novel. Indeed, Sun noted that currently, well-made content in the fantasy and science fiction genres are particularly popular among Chinese viewers.

Tencent Video offers a vast range of content spanning across drama series, variety shows, films, animation, sports, and documentaries. Our content is centered on building a robust IP portfolio. Our vision is to create more IPs with broad influence and to establish a more diverse content ecosystem.

Inspiration is also drawn from international markets. As a world-renowned IP, Three-Body is known for being difficult to adapt to film and TV. We spent seven years working on this IP to bring this story to full fruition. Finally, this year, the first installment of the series reached audiences around the world and won the Magnolia award for best art direction, one of the most prestigious awards for Chinese TV dramas. It has also pioneered the sci-fi genre for China’s TV drama segment, which is very exciting for us.

Three-Body, a world-renowned IP.

Notwithstanding, Chinese viewers are still able to enjoy a wide variety of international programming including imported movies, drama series, variety shows, animation, sports events, and documentaries. Some new developments at Tencent Video include a multi-year partnership with Formula 1®to stream races and an agreement with the UK’s Coolabi Productions Limited to develop and distribute its famous Warrior Cats content.

When it comes to technology, Tencent’s different business units together offer a wealth of digital capabilities. This gives Tencent Video access to invaluable resources such as the company’s social platforms, Tencent Cloud and AI generated content (AIGC) to create an optimal environment for IP collaboration and development.

“Technological innovation has been a key to the success of China’s online video industry,” Sun pointed out. “New technologies help creators unleash their imagination and bring more immersive aesthetic experiences to users.

“The content and entertainment industry is standing at the cusp of the AI era. Tencent is ready to support creative partners with a new toolkit that includes our new ‘Hunyuan’ Chinese large language model (LLM) and enhanced AIGC-based capabilities to create 3D and 2D animated programs.  Our aim is to free creators from mundane, repetitive tasks to focus on advancing their art and creating quality content which can be appreciated not only by Chinese audiences but also viewers elsewhere in the world.”

Tencent Video programming is distributed and promoted outside China through its international version, WeTV. Featuring over 10,000 hours of Chinese-language programming translated into 10 languages, WeTV can currently be seen in over 100 countries and regions. It is one of the most popular streaming platforms in Southeast Asia. The service has also garnered 50 million subscribers on YouTube and nearly 40 million followers on Facebook.

“Remaining focused on the dual drivers of art and technology, Tencent Video looks forward to continuing its in-depth cooperation with international partners. The content industry is rich with potential and new possibilities. Sharing opportunities and overcoming new challenges together, we will forge a pathway for the future of the industry to entertain and inform viewers in China and around the world,” Sun concluded.